Montclair Kimberley controlled most of the play, but Montclair staged a comeback in the final minutes that fell just short in the annual Montclair Cup hockey matchup last week.

MKA held on to defeat the Mounties, 4-3, before a packed crowd at Clary Anderson Arena in Montclair on Wednesday, Jan. 11. With the win the Cougars raised their record to 5-1-1, while the Mounties dropped to 4-5.

Cougars junior Jack MacEvoy scored what turned out to be the game-winner in the third period.

“That goal gave us a little breathing room, but we got a little too comfortable,” MacEvoy said. “They almost capitalized off that.”

After MacEvoy’s goal, Montclair Kimberley’s lead seemed insurmountable: With eight minutes remaining, it was 4-1. The Cougars’ student section began to chant “Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye” to the Mounties.

But the Mounties were undeterred by the pressure. Montclair High coach Connor Smith took pride in how his team handled the competition.

Montclair senior Miles Fletcher (21) celebrates in front of the Mounties fans after scoring the goal to cut the Montclair Kimberley lead to 4-3. The Cougars held off Montclair, 4-3, in the battle of the two rivals on the ice for the Montclair Cup on Jan. 11 at Clary Anderson Arena in Montclair. Fletcher had a pair of goals, but Montclair Kimberley had too much offensive power in the end. Montclair scored a pair of goals in the final minutes of the third period but could not get the equalizer. Both teams faceoff against each other on Feb. 6. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
Montclair senior Miles Fletcher (21) celebrates in front of the Mounties fans after scoring the goal to cut the Montclair Kimberley lead to 4-3. The Cougars held off Montclair, 4-3, in the battle of the two rivals on the ice for the Montclair Cup on Jan. 11 at Clary Anderson Arena in Montclair. Fletcher had a pair of goals, but Montclair Kimberley had too much offensive power in the end. Montclair scored a pair of goals in the final minutes of the third period but could not get the equalizer. Both teams faceoff against each other on Feb. 6. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
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“They definitely heard it, but they ignored the crowd today,” Smith said. “We are a young team. We had jitters in the first period today. You could see it, but then we got it out of our system. We realized that MKA wasn’t any tougher than we were. I think we played tougher hockey.”  

Montclair High School came back in the last period as senior Miles Fletcher scored twice in the final four minutes.

With the Cougars ahead 4-3, Montclair had a 6-on-4 advantage in the final minute, as MacEvoy was called for a cross-checking penalty and Montclair pulled junior goalie Sam Korenbaum.

But the MKA defense, led by senior goalie Aidan Meeker, held off the furious comeback attempt by the Mounties.

Montclair Kimberley coach Tim Cook was happy to come away with the win, but was disappointed his team let Montclair back in the game. 

“There was some good energy, especially in the first period,” Cook said. “I wished we had kept it up at certain points. We had little lulls. I was proud that we pulled out the win, but there’s a lot of stuff we need to work on.”

Cook believes that the Cougars can be a more consistent team. He thinks consistency will be key for Montclair Kimberley to win the Kelly Cup.   

MKA junior Jack MacEvoy bears down on Montclair junior goalie Sam Korenbaum. MacEvoy put the shot past Korenbaum to give the Cougars a 4-1 lead. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
MKA junior Jack MacEvoy bears down on Montclair junior goalie Sam Korenbaum. MacEvoy put the shot past Korenbaum to give the Cougars a 4-1 lead. (EDWARD KENSIK/STAFF)
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“We want more competition in our drills. We really need to translate that into our games,” he said. “We want to finish the regular season strong and compete for the Kelly Cup.”

For the game the Cougars had four different goal scorers. Along with MacEvoy, MKA received goals from junior Sam Rotella, sophomore Nicholas Sykora and junior Gary Hu. Montclair Kimberley outshot Montclair, 41-19. 

Along with Fletcher's pair of goals, Montclair received a goal from sophomore Logan Brown. 

After the game, Montclair’s Smith was already looking forward to the opportunity to get revenge on Montclair Kimberley in the next New Jersey Interscholastic Ice Hockey League Kelly Division battle between the two schools. They will face off again on Monday, Feb. 6, at Clary Anderson Arena at 4:10 p.m. 

“We are in the same division now, so we play them again,” he said. “The Montclair Cup means so much to anyone who plays hockey here or is just a fan of it. We have things to look forward to. The cup will come back here. I’m not worried about it.”  

Montclair was next scheduled to meet Tenafly on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 4:10 p.m., while Montclair Kimberley was to host Paul VI on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at Clary Anderson Arena at 4:15 p.m., with results of both games unavailable before press deadline.

Montclair ice hockey schedule
(Home games at Clary Anderson Arena)

Jan. 18 at Tenafly, 4:10 p.m.
Jan. 23 at Cranford, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 25 Frisch School, 7:40 p.m.
Jan. 27 Nutley/Bloomfield, 5:45 p.m.
Feb. 1 Oratory, 4:15 p.m.
Feb. 2 Mountain Lakes, 5:15 p.m.
Feb. 6 Montclair Kimberley, 4:10 p.m.
Feb. 7 Madison, 4 p.m.

Montclair Kimberley ice hockey schedule
(Home games at Clary Anderson Arena)

Jan. 17 Paul VI, 4:15 p.m.
Jan. 18 at Nutley/Bloomfield, 6 p.m.
Jan. 20 St. Joseph, 4:15 p.m.
Jan. 23 Kearny, 4 p.m.
Jan. 24 at Notre Dame, 6 p.m.
Jan. 26 at Frisch School, 8:45 p.m.
Feb. 1 Frisch School, 7:40 p.m.
Feb. 3 Cranford, 4:15 p.m.
Feb. 6 Montclair, 4:10 p.m.